Singaporean woman and four children evacuated from Yemen on Chinese frigate

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean woman and her four children who were stranded in Yemen are on their way home, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Friday.

The ministry said it approached several countries to help Madam Sherin Fathimah Syed Abdul Ravoof and her children leave Yemen since she contacted the ministry on Mar 31.

It said in a statement: "We managed to secure assistance from the People's Republic of China (PRC), which agreed to allow them to leave on one of its vessels. 

"Madam Sherin and her children arrived safely in Djibouti on 2 April 2015. MFA continues to keep in touch with her, whilst arrangements are being made for them to fly back to Singapore."

 The ministry also thanked China in the statement: "MFA would like to thank the PRC Government for its positive and speedy response in facilitating the departure of Madam Sherin and her children."

Madam Sherin, 37, and her children, aged between four and 13, moved to Yemen six months ago to live with her Yemeni husband. Her businessman husband, who had travelled to Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage, has been unable to return to Yemen since the unrest worsened.

Apart from Singapore, China also helped nine other countries evacuate more than 200 of their citizens from Yemen, where Iran-allied rebels have seized the two main cities. This is the first time Beijing has assisted in the evacuation of foreign nationals during an international crisis according to a Reuters report.

A Chinese missile frigate carried the foreign nationals from the Port of Aden, bound for Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, on Thursday afternoon, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on its website late Thursday.

chuimin@sph.com.sg